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Knife and Fork - The Higher You Get the Rarer the Vegetation

  by Jon Rogers

published: 14 / 8 / 2012

Knife and Fork - The Higher You Get the Rarer the Vegetation
Label: Bureau Records
Format: CD


Captivating avant garde, experimental rock on second album from Knife and Fork, the project of Californian musician Eric Drew Feldman, who spent five years with Captain Beffheart and the Magic Band

Given that the album title comes from Surrealist painter Salvador Dali and that band member Eric Drew Feldman spent five years with Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, playing on three albums, you'd perhaps think Knife and Fork's second album was going to be archaic blast of 'freak out' weirdness. Full of random time and key changes and LSD-induced lyrics about purple Octafish - or something similar. Fortunately 'The Higher You Get the Rarer the Vegetation' isn't. But it's not exactly your conventional pop record either, What you do get though is some Kurt Weill-esque blues mixed in with the avant-garde, and delivered with the dynamics of a Patti Smith or PJ Harvey thanks to the inclusion of singer Laurie Hall, from the San Francisco band Ovarian Trolley. In fact the comparisons with Smith and Harvey (who Feldman has played and toured with) are perhaps most evident on the libidinous 'Pocket Rocket', its riff reminiscent of Harvey's 'Meet Zee Monsta'. A song that mixes up gender roles with Hall's brassy vocals delivering machismo lyrics about a "pocket rocket". A position the likes of Smith and Harvey (and other female singers) have done in the past. Still, it's hard to grow tired of the irony and a deflating of male sexual bravado. Elsewhere, as with songs like 'Nicotine', 'The Higher...' is filled with film noir moans and groans and Weimar-era cabaret as if some down and out character is going to appear and show us the way to the next whiskey bar, accompanied by some toy symphony orchestra of freaks and sideshow attractions. The highlight is the ten-minute 'The Revelator', a lush Oedipal tour de force ("I'm your mother/I'm your lover...") that simmers away and never boils over. It's full of Gothic (in the proper sense of the word) splendour and self-revulsion - "I'm sick/I'm sick/I'm sicker than you". Admittedly, at times it can all err on the side of the melodramatic, as with 'Chariot' - but still Knife & Fork have managed to produce a rather captivating album. Quite a little gem.

Track Listing:-
1 Tightrope
2 Chariot
3 I Count The Days
4 Tailspin
5 Pocket Rocket
6 Nicotine
7 The Revelator
8 Bury

Band Links:-

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